Loyalty (Fina Ludlow Series #1)

Loyalty (Fina Ludlow Series #1)

by Ingrid Thoft

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Overview

When your family’s on the wrong side of the law…what side are you on?

The Ludlows are a family of fast-talking Boston lawyers, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. Black-sheep daughter, Fina, dropped out of law school, but her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.

Juggling family, business, cops and crooks is no problem for Fina. But when her sister-in-law disappears, she’s caught up in a case unlike any she’s encountered before.

Carl wants things resolved without police, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. As she unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But she is after the truth—no matter where it lies…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425268520
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Series: Fina Ludlow Series , #1
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 341,092
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ingrid Thoft was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Loyalty is her first novel.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Loyalty’s Fina Ludlow is my hero. If I were in a bad spot, I’d want her at my back. Don’t miss it.”—Catherine Coulter, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

“In her debut novel, Ingrid Thoft gives us Fina Ludlow, the newest private eye to prowl Boston’s mean streets. Fina returns the female detective to the heart of the hard-boiled tradition: hard-drinking, hard-loving, moody. Writer Ingrid Thoft has given her a dysfunctional extended family that rivals the Ewings of Dallas fame, which adds a dimension not often seen in the PI novel.”—Sara Paretsky, New York Times bestselling author

Loyalty, Ingrid Thoft’s strong debut, is gripping, and Fina Ludlow, the black sheep of her male-dominated family of ambulance chasers, elevates it to a must-read. A seductive combination of sass and smarts, Fina reminds us just how hard it is for women in a male-dominated world without ever giving an inch. Loyalty reminds me just how great a PI novel can be. This is the start of something big.”—Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author

"What starts, in Thoft’s dazzling first novel, as a missing-persons case for Boston PI Fina Ludlow—the search for her sister-in-law, Melanie—swells through layers of familial secrets, lies, and betrayals to something approaching Greek tragedy....Readers will be eager to see more of smash-mouth Fina, a hard-boiled throwback equally comfortable shooting from the hip or the lip."
— Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Thoft’s promising debut introduces a significantly flawed but tough new PI and offers up compelling suspense, while the smooth prose keeps things moving right along….This mystery wrapped in family drama should please fans of contemporary suspense of the more hard-boiled sort.”
                        — Library Journal

“(Fina) Ludlow has the shrewdness of her parents and siblings but she has compassion, too. Fans of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries will enjoy this engaging debut.”
—    Booklist
 

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

The Ludlows are a family of fast-talking Boston lawyers, and patriarch Carl Ludlow treats his offspring like employees—which they are. Black-sheep daughter, Fina, dropped out of law school, but her father keeps her in the fold as the firm’s private investigator, working alongside her brothers.

Juggling family, business, cops and crooks is no problem for Fina. But when her sister-in-law disappears, she’s caught up in a case unlike any she’s encountered before.

Carl wants things resolved without police, but the deeper Fina digs, the more impossible that seems. As she unearths more dirt, the demands of family loyalty intensify. But she is after the truth—no matter where it lies…


ABOUT INGRID THOFT

Ingrid Thoft was born in Boston and is a graduate of Wellesley College. Her interest in the PI life and her desire to create a believable PI character led her to the certificate program in private investigation at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle with her husband. Loyalty is her first novel.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. Do you think Loyalty is a good title for the book?  Discuss the different ways that the concept of loyalty is tested within the story.
  2. How has the death of Fina’s older sibling, Josephine, shaped Fina and the rest of the Ludlow family?  Would Carl and Elaine’s parenting be different if their first daughter had survived?
  3. Who is your favorite character in the book?  Why?  Who do you think is the most principled member of the Ludlow family?
  4. Why do you think Fina and her mother Elaine have such a strained relationship?  Could Fina do anything to improve it?
  5. Carl doesn’t seem particularly concerned about Fina’s wellbeing.  Do you think he doesn’t care or just has a funny way of showing it?
  6. There are many examples of parent/child relationships in Loyalty.  Which one is the most dysfunctional?  Fina and her parents?  Haley and Rand?  Bev and Connor?
  7. How would Fina have turned out differently if she were born a boy rather than a girl?  Would she be so physically tough and fearless?
  8. Fina is drawn to both Milloy and Cristian.  What about the two men appeals to her?  Do you think she should be in a relationship with either one of them long-term?
  9. Fina is very comfortable operating in a world dominated by men, but she also has strong ties to women in the story including Patty and Risa.  Why do you think she values those relationships?  What does she bring to those friendships?
  10. Fina is not maternal in the traditional sense, but she’s extremely protective of Haley.  Do you think she’s a good influence on her niece?
  11. The Ludlows have a complicated relationship with Boston’s elite.  Will they ever be accepted into the upper echelon of the city’s society?
  12.  Do you think Loyalty would be very different if it were set in another city?  What other city lends itself to the story?
  13.  Did you like the opening scene of the book?  Was starting with the murder too jarring or a good way to get the story going?
  14. The novel is told from the point of view of Fina, Bev and Connor.  Is there another character who you would have liked the book to focus on more?
  15.  Fina, Bev and Pitney all think of themselves as champions of women.  Do you agree with that assessment?  If not, why?
  16.  Why do you think that Fina eats the way that she does?  Can you think of other fictional characters who have unique diets or health regimens?
  17.  Why is the relationship between Fina and Frank important? 
  18.  Do you think that Fina could be an effective private investigator if she didn’t occasionally bend the rules?
  19.  Do you think Fina goes looking for trouble in terms of physical altercations?  Is she reckless or brave?
  20. What do you think of the ending?  Do you think Fina should have done more to ensure that Rand would be punished for his actions?  Should she have kept all of the information to herself rather than passing it on to Lieutenant Pitney?
  21. What would you have done at the end of the book if you were in Fina’s shoes?  Can you think of times when you’ve been torn between conflicting loyalties?

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